Parks and recreation agencies are (and should be) proud of the programs they offer their communities. But it always comes down to one question: how can we get more people to find out about our programs? If only more people knew, participation would surely increase.
That’s why marketing – and particularly partnership marketing – is so important to P&R agencies. Although these partnerships may not turn out as cute as a monkey and dove, they can still be very effective. Here are seven departments and organizations around the town/city/county that you should meet with:
1. Local non-profits – Are there non-profit organizations in your area that share the same philosophy as you? Seek out non-profits that are about physical activity, community involvement, park preservation or anything else that aligns with you as a P&R agency. You could do some cross-promotion/sponsoring that could help spread the word about their causes and your programs.
2. Schools – You probably work with or have approached schools in some way. But if you haven’t, think about getting a flyer or rec guide into the school systems. They will probably be willing to help spread the word in one way or another: they could pass out paper programs, send out email blasts to all parents, post flyers around the school, post information on their websites, or more.
3. Town Hall – The Town or City Hall is another place where you can drop off flyers about recreation programs.
4. Senior Center – The Senior Center is another place to pass out flyers. However, make sure it is a targeted flyer. For example, you probably don’t want to be advertising classes for kids. Rather, make a flyer or rec guide specifically targeted to adult and senior recreation programs and events.
5. Library – If you have one library in a small town or multiple around a large region that you manage, getting the word out here is important. And just like for the Senior Center, target the communications if you can. Depending on the libraries’ locations, highlight different recreation centers and parks that are close by. If someone goes to one library, they most likely won’t travel 30 minutes across town to attend a Yoga class that is also offered right by home.
6. Events – Are there races, triathlons, mud runs, or other types of events that take place in your town? Take a look at the calendar to see what’s going on over the next year. There may be an opportunity to work with the events before, during, and after the big day. Could people go to your spinning classes to train for a bike race? Would they want to sign up for your classes after the race to stay in shape? Set up a meeting with the event director to see if there is potential for a partnership.
7. Newspapers – There are two ways to get in a newspaper – advertise or get press. Either way, your local newspaper could be a good opportunity to market your recreation programs. Be sure to first understand the demographics of the readers so that you can target your message more appropriately.